Restore Net Neutrality

The President’s pledge to close the great digital divide and upgrade access to the digital age for all Americans has been jeopardized by a recent federal court ruling (Verizon vs. FCC).  On January 14 the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet policies pertaining to "Net Neutrality" were overturned because ISPs have not been classified as "common carriers.” Under Net Neutrality every site on the internet is equally accessible to the user. At best, the president's goal of equal access could now be delayed for a few years during an appeals process. At worst, low-income and rural areas could become second-class citizens of the digital age:

•    ISPs could charge companies for access to its users.
•    ISPs could charge users for access to certain services.
•    ISPs could technically censor/block the sites its customers visit.
•    Internet companies could create a tiered pricing system for certain types of online traffic, similar to purchasing premium channels from cable providers.  

Barbara Stripling, President of the American Library Association who served as the director of library programs for 1,700 New York City schools, is concerned that public libraries — and the communities they serve — will be the ones to lose; "Americans rely upon public availability of government services, licensed databases, job-training videos, medical and scientific research, and many other essential services."  Stripling warns that the hardest hit would be students and rural residents lacking access to computers or updated technology. According to a 2013 report in The Washington Post, fewer than 20 percent of the nation's educators believe that the Internet connections at their schools meet their teaching needs.


To join a petition to restore Net Neutrality visit the White House website “We the People” created to identify issues with strong support. The Net Neutrality petition urges the President to direct the FCC to classify ISPs as "common carriers" so that the words of the FCC chairman may be fulfilled: “I am committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment.”

OverDrive Plans Upgrade for Audiobooks

OverDrive, the vendor of digital books for Wisconsin's Digital Library, has announced that it will be moving away from the WMA format and making audiobooks for the library market available solely as MP3s. Reasons for the shift include the popularity of the MP3 format. The WMA format is not compatible with iOS, Mac and Android devices. Sunsetting WMA formats will enable access through the OverDrive app to all audiobooks on all major audiobook playing devices, including iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Windows devices, Macs and more.  


MP3s are the vast majority of the company’s audiobook collection, including titles from Hachette, Penguin Group, Random House (Books on Tape and Listening Library), HarperCollins, AudioGo, Blackstone, Tantor Media, and more. While OverDrive has not announced a firm date for the change, the company will be communicating with customers about transitioning sales and inventory from WMA to MP3. In the event that some titles can't be upgrade, an alternate solution will be offered to make up for the lost titles. For more information visit OverDrive Blogs.

Library Approval Ratings


Public libraries play an important role in our communities. According to a Library Services Survey, some 94 percent of Americans say that having a public library improves a community and that the local library is a “welcoming, friendly place;” incredible approval ratings for any U.S. public institution.

• 95% agree that resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed;
• 95% say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading;
• 94% say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community;
• 81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.

Read for Pleasure


Past research has found that reading for pleasure is linked to better overall satisfaction with life, higher incomes, healthier relationships (lower divorce rates), and better mental health. Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers.


New research from the Institute of Education (IOE) examines the effect of reading for pleasure on cognitive development over time. Children who read for pleasure made more progress in maths, vocabulary and spelling between the ages of 10 and 16 than those who rarely read. Reading for pleasure was found to be more important for children's cognitive development between ages 10 and 16 than their parents' level of education.


Results of a recent study commissioned by Environics Research Group to gather data about the pleasure reading habits of Canadians reveal a high population of passionate readers still very engaged with traditional reading platforms. Books are the overwhelmingly preferred medium, with 70% of readers preferring them to magazines, newspapers, and blogs.


During the past several years, studies like Reading at Risk and To Read or Not to Read have addressed a growing sense of concern about the nearly universal decline in American literacy. Only one-third of 13-year-olds were daily readers and fifty-five percent of people who read below the basic level were unemployed. And only three percent of those in prison could read at a proficient level. Adults' rates of literary reading for pleasure have dropped back to 2002 levels, from 50 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2012.


These surveys demonstrate reading’s increasingly precarious position among an unprecedented large variety of electronic entertainment and communication options. On average, Americans spend 2.8 hours per day watching television and seven minutes reading per weekend day. The deciding factor in who reads and who doesn't is not socioeconomic status. It's how many books can be found in a family's home.


Need to make more time for reading? Word Cafe suggests eight ways you can fit reading into your busy schedule:  cut down your TV watching time • Use your lunch hour to leave your desk and read while you eat  • Make it a habit of reading before bedtime • Keep your current read handy in at all times • Designate an hour of reading time with the family •  Join, or start, a book club • Make reading your excuse to get out of the house • Create a reading oasis in your home


LearningExpress Database Upgrade


On January 3, 2014 LearningExpress Library will be moved to an upgraded platform requiring users to re-register their accounts. Work done on the current platform will not be available after the January 3 upgrade. Please finish all coursework before January. The new features included in the upgrade to LearningExpress 3.0 offer improved functionality and content:

  • New and improved site design
  • Easier navigation
  • New interactive tutorials
  • Multiple test modes for study and practice
  • Recommendations for additional study

LearningExpress Library is a collection of web-based test preparation tools and skill-building materials for children, teens, and adults. Improve your academic skills, achieve educational goals, and prepare for careers with LearningExpress Library!

Library Friends Groups

United for Libraries has made available a free toolkit for a public library friends groups. "Libraries Need Friends: Starting a Friends Group or Revitalizing the One You Have" includes tips on membership, outreach, fundraising and more.


With the serious decline of government support for libraries in recent years, raising money from private sources has never been more important.  Organizing a Friends group with key volunteers for library events and programs, donor clubs, and fundraising has worked effectively to find and secure vitally needed funds. Recruit enthusiastic patrons who use the library on a regular basis and people in the community representing businesses that can sponsor library projects and programs.

Trustee Tip Sheets

The following Trustee Tip Sheets are provided by The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations:

1. The Role of Library Trustees 2. The Role of the Friends Board 3. Mission Statements 4. Sample Memorandum of Understanding 5. Library Support for Friends Activities 6. Evaluating the Library Director 7. Governing Library Boards vs. Advisory Library Boards: Which are Better? 8. When Friends Aren't Friendly 9. Trustee Competencies 1. How to Chair a Committee 11. Twelve Golden Rules for Board Members

Library Story Hour Programs

Story times are not only fun, but improve school readiness, vocabulary development, motivation to read, narrative awareness, phonological awareness, and print awareness. These programs change children's literacy behaviors at home and parent's literacy interactions with their children.


A report commissioned by the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries highlights a number of important ways story programs impact participants. The programs increase children's engagement with books, words, and tools for writing and illustration, and improve development of social skills and listening skills.


The American Library Association provides research and statistics to support a significant relationship between children's services in public libraries and early reading success at school. Young children disproportionately affected by the achievement gap can especially benefit from opportunities to use public libraries.

Wisconsin Library Association Conference

The 2013 Annual Conference held October 22-25 at the Hyatt on Main and KI Convention Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin is an opportunity to learn new ways to stay up-to-date, innovate. This year’s theme is “Play. Create. Innovate!” with more than 90 sessions across nine simultaneous tracks: Back to the Book; Collections: Building, Sharing, Transforming; Innovation & Creative Collaboration; Library Issues & Challenges; Advocacy & Promotion; Programming & Instruction; Technology & Digital Services; Engaging People; and Leadership & Personal Development. For more details about sessions, speakers, and registration visit WLA and the conference FAQ. Early-bird rates end October 4, so visit and register today!


Program Handouts

View program handouts from the conference presenters.

Pre-conference sessions 

  • Becoming a Drum Major for Change: Creating & Inspiring Leadership in Your Libraries
  • Play & Read: Early Literacy in Libraries

Featured presenters:

  • Chip Kidd, author, editor, designer – known for book jacket design
  • Sergio Dogliani & The Idea Store, innovating library services in the UK 
  • Jarrett Krosoczka, author of Punk Farm, Baghead, Lunch Lady graphic novels and more! 
  • Deborah Blum, author of the critically acclaimed The Poisoner's Handbook
  • Michael Perry, author of bestselling memoirs Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop and Visiting Tom

Special events: a silent auction fundraiser, networking opportunities, and an exhibit hall with currently over 60 vendors showcasing library products and services.


Social events:

  • Tailgate Party 
  • Lambeau Field Tour 
  • Librarians Rock! WLAF Fundraiser (karaoke)
  • Morning Yoga Session 
  • Tour of the Oneida Community Library
  • Weidener Center for the Performing Arts Tour
  • Bring It: Banned Books Read-In Celebrating Multicultural Literature
  • Battledecks/Craftdecks 
  • Pub Crawl 
  • Bookin' It 5K Fun Run

New Advocacy Power Guide

The Citizens-Save-Libraries Power Guide is a new step-by-step resource for generating an advocacy campaign with a set of strategies for gaining library support. Resources include examples of fact sheets, talking points, flyers, petitions, and promotional materials used by public libraries. Additional resources include data, articles, tools, and tips for promoting the value of your library.